two more weeks

We fly north in two weeks. Two weeks from yesterday, actually. Our children will start at their new school on May 12… and if we’re lucky our moving truck with all our belongings (and second car) will arrive then, too. Or at least by the 15th. We’ll see.

Moving is one of life’s big stressors, right? All that change and upheaval. I have to admit, I like the change and upheaval. I like that professional movers come in and touch everything I own and transport it all for me. I like surrendering a bit. I even like the challenge of figuring out new systems and rules in cities and schools, all the hassle that is involved with setting up a new household. Maybe I’ve been watching the kids play Minecraft too much, but there’s something very rewarding about creating something new and figuring things out without any directions or expectations.

But the part that causes real stress, real anguish, is the actual leaving. The “good-bye.” I. Hate. It. So very, very much. It hurts, you see.

Last night my neighborhood friends threw me a little party. We hadn’t gotten together in a while and it was beyond lovely to reconnect and catch up. They gave me little gifts that represented each of them:  Homemade wind chimes, a plateful of cookies, a travel wine mug celebrating obsessive-compulsive tendencies, a toy frog, a coffee mug filled with a hot cocoa pack and marshmallows… and a doll with an injured and horribly askew leg holding a flag that reads “Man down!” — in six and a half years, a lot of funny and sweet stuff happens. It felt so good to remember. I haven’t laughed so hard or cried/laughed (craughed?) so hard in so long.

Then they gave me these.

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And then, THEN, they sang me a song. They got up in front of me and sang an adapted version of “Hey Soul Sister,” with lyrics re-written by my dear friend who has one of the busiest lives I know of.

Lyrics like “Your move-north pains are in our hearts and eyes and in our brains. We know we wouldn’t forget you, and so we went and let you move up north…. Now we’re few and blue, on the boulevard, in the yard, the way you move ain’t fair, it’s hard… We don’t wanna miss a single thing you do.” If this blog weren’t anonymous and if my friends would allow it I’d post the video. It is epic and bittersweet, like the finest bar of dark chocolate.

It was all too much for me to bear. I can’t even type these words without crying.

I’ve been so extraordinarily lucky, to have moved onto a street populated with great women and good neighbors who turned into true friends. I don’t know what I’m going to do in a couple weeks on a new street, in a new home… Will anybody bring me a plate of cookies? Will anybody run over and introduce themselves and give me everybody’s name and number, and then bring us dinner? Will I be invited to birthday parties, or to long-weekend girls’ getaways? Will I meet friends who can stop by on quiet weeknights when my husband is traveling, and enjoy a glass of wine, and talk and laugh for hours?

It has been idyllic, our life on this street. We’ve been safe and welcomed and happy and healthy.

It will hurt to leave. As excited as I am to start fresh, as thrilled as I am for new opportunities, for growth… It will hurt to leave. A lot.

 

The g-word

Okay. I was rear-ended a couple days ago. And today?

This:

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I was taking the children to school. Turned left onto a busy , 4-lane divided highway. And I got clipped. By this.

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Please note, the left end corner of that trailer? That’s what hit our car. The driver barely noticed he hit me. He claims he was just changing lanes and I turned into him. What really happened: he was driving down the center lane. I was waiting to turn into the left lane. My lane was clear, so I turned. But he changed lanes into mine, within one or two seconds of my turn. He didn’t check his blind spot — a blind spot which must be HUGE. But it’s my word against his. (Well, my kids were there too, but police don’t tend to interview young passengers.)

What are the odds, of getting rear-ended by a guy with failing brakes, and then two days later getting clipped by a truck/trailer with a driver who doesn’t look behind him, and in both instances, not getting hurt? 

Pretty low, I’d guess.

I am so very, very, very lucky. I don’t know what I did to deserve my luck. I have a great husband, who works hard and earns well to take care of us. I work hard to raise our children, maintain our home, conserve and save the money my husband earns, and secure my own employment and earnings (slowly but surely). We have healthy, happy children — they each just made “Student of the Month” yesterday, for pete’s sake. My brother, my sister, their families, my parents… my husband’s brothers and families, his mother. We’re all relatively healthy, and rather happy. 

Yet I worry a lot. “Am I doing enough? Am I lazy? Should I have foreseen this? Should I avoided that? Should I have known better? Is everybody okay?” They make up a constant refrain. 

Another writer I know posted a timely piece on giving the gift of no guilt during this holiday season. It’s good advice, though I must admit I rarely feel guilty about letting friends and family down. Guilt might describe, however, this weird sensation I feel over the events of this week: these accidents that could have been so much worse but somehow, my kids and I are okay. These things that happen in this happy life I live, that turn out to be little speed bumps on a clear, straight road.

That guilt, the dreaded g-word… I think in my mind, it serves a purpose. You know, how when things are so good, almost too good, so you sit around worrying and waiting for the other shoe to drop? I feel like I’m padding the floor with guilt, so that when that shoe does drop, it lands softly, makes less noise, hurts less…

Or maybe that’s not the g-word I’m feeling.

Maybe it’s just an insane, immeasurable amount of gratitude. Fluffy, soft, thick, cozy gratitude. 

 

 

 

 

 

everything could be worse

About 35 minutes ago, I was sitting in my car at a stop light. And BANG.

I was rear-ended.

I looked in my rear-view mirror, saw the driver of the car behind me, I put my car into park, turned on my hazards, turned off my car and got out. I don’t know what my face was doing, exactly, but I remember my hands being outstretched, as in, “What the f***?” I said nothing.

A guy gets out of the offending car. He’s an older guy, wearing a straw hat. He looked like he could have been one of Tony Soprano’s guys. He said to me, “Are you alright honey? My brakes failed, my car’s fine. No damage to your car?”

I got down, looked at my car, and there was a mark on the rubber/plastic bumper where his car had hit, a little scratch on the bumper… that was it.

“Yeah, I’m okay. Are you okay?”

“I’m fine. I’m okay. I’m sorry, honey.”

“Okay. Be careful.”

We sort of hugged.

And I got into my car, and he got into his. And that was that. (I moved out of his lane.)

I was about two miles from my house. And all the while, I thought, “I should have exchanged insurance information. I should have got a phone number, a name. Does my neck hurt?” Other thoughts like these went through my head at about a mile a minute.

The guy who hit me pulled alongside me, and then ahead at another red light. I couldn’t resist.

ImageI just needed to know I could track him down if I needed to. (And to folks out there who know where I live and drive on the same streets as me, take heed of this car.) But I won’t need to. I’m fine. Our cars are fine. My car in particular might be worth less than his. And most important: none of the $250+ worth of Costco merchandise, loaded carefully into the back of my nine-year-old Forester, was damaged.

A few minutes later, as I approached the entrance to my neighborhood, I saw three sheriff’s cars and three other cars and a tow truck. One of the three cars was on the grassy median–the one I pass every day as I turn out of our neighborhood. It was not a horrible accident, (everybody was standing) but it was a pretty expensive one, both in terms of money and stress.

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I’ve been feeling so unsettled. My husband is training for a half-marathon, to be run in February. He said, “yeah, it’ll be fun to do, if we’re still here.” I don’t know whether we’ll find out we have to move at year-end, or quarter-end. I don’t know if I’ll need to be an effectively single parent for the last couple months of the school year, or if we’ll have our kids start at a new school in April.

I. Know. Nothing. As always.

Except for one thing: I am a lucky, lucky girl.

And Tony Soprano’s guy? He is a lucky, lucky man. As long as he gets his brakes fixed.